Would it be too predictable to say that Grey Goose’s Le Voyage started with a cocktail? Probably, right? Well, Le Voyage technically started with a picturesque ride through the French countryside to get from Paris to the Picardy region of France. It was a relaxing two-hour ride to Picardy and I was dealing with a bit of jet lag, but despite the snooze-worthy setting I couldn’t help but take in a bit of scenery while traveling to Picardy. There’s tons of fields and other greenery, but you really don’t get a sense of how grand everything is until you’re actually out of the car. The vividness of everything hits you. The grass is an eye-popping green, the sky is a bright, inviting blue and the air just seems sooo much fresher than it does in the states. But enough with that flowery description, on to the Grey Goose cocktails!
Upon arriving at Chateau de Barive we checked in and were immediately greeted by Grey Goose global ambassador Ludo Miazga who served as our guide to the world of Grey Goose for the three days we were in France. After we returned from a short break Ludo whipped up a couple of Grey Goose “Le Fizz” cocktails while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. When you’ve been traveling all day “Le Fizz” really is the ultimate cocktail. Made using Grey Goose Vodka, Elderflower Cordial, fresh lime juice, and club soda it’s addictively refreshing.
After a couple of hours the gang was all there and we were off to the wheat fields to meet up with Grey Goose Maître de Chai (Cellar Master), François Thibault and wheat farmer Marc Egret. The wheat fields we visited actually mark the first step in creating Grey Goose Vodka. We were able to see firsthand the tender, winter wheat used in Grey Goose which was described as being the “most exquisite” of the grain. Throughout the trip I was really taken aback by the small amount of people who work in the wheat fields, farm, distillery, etc. where Grey Goose is made. With a brand as big as Grey Goose I really expected their facilities to be filled with hundreds of people when a staff of 45 or less seemed to be the norm. Although they’re distributing a large number of bottles per month it makes it somewhat of a more personal experience knowing that there wasn’t 582 hands on your bottle before it arrived in your local liquor store.
After a bit of “Wheat 101″ we were off to the wheat farm where the wheat is brought to to be weighed before it’s shipped off to the mill and distillery. And what’s a wheat field/farm experience without a nice cocktail to top it all off? At the wheat farm Ludo again showed off his mixology skills as he whipped up a delicious raspberry punch made using Grey Goose and fresh raspberries. We then returned to Chateau de Barive for pre-dinner cocktails which included a Grey Goose dry martini. Following cocktails we indulged in a five-course meal courtesy of the Chateau de Barive staff. Biggest dinner highlights: tasting frog legs for the first time, the amazing spiced butter, and of course dessert!
FYI when you have a stuffed animal in your room and a Grey Goose iPad it only makes sense to have an impromptu photo shoot. Stay tuned for my “Grey Goose Le Voyage Day 2″ post which will touch on the Grey Goose mill and distillery and our first day in Cognac, France.